The Hindu

This is the first story in our series analysing profiles of candidates fighting the general election, from India’s largest states

More than 150 farmers, close to 200 entrepreneurs, and 127 lawyers are among the 950 people fighting the upcoming parliamentary elections in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is the biggest state, and all constituencies will go to polls on April 19, the first phase of the elections. The list of farmers and agriculturists also includes a union minister.

businessline’s analyses of candidate affidavit data put out by the Association for Democratic Reforms paint a colourful picture of the professions of politicians eyeing an MP seat from the state. The list includes 36 labourers and 19 drivers. There are also actors, ex-servicemen, doctors, journalists, painters, photographers, teachers, and even a football coach. Here’s a closer look at the professions and education qualifications.

The minister is a farmer!

The most popular professions of candidates differ across political parties. For instance, nine of the 22 candidates fielded by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the ruling party in Tamil Nadu, are involved in farming or agriculture. This list also includes their Coimbatore candidate, Ganapathi P Rajkumar, who was also the former mayor of Coimbatore.

DMK’s major rival, AIADMK, has fielded 34 candidates. Half of them are business owners. The BJP has candidates in 23 state constituencies. Eight of them have listed farming or agriculture as their primary profession. This includes L Murugan, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India. Murugan is fighting the polls from the Nilgiris. Murugan’s affidavit lists agriculture as his only source of income.

DMK’s ally Indian National Congress, has nine candidates, five of whom are business owners. Business is a popular profession among PMK’s candidates, too. Four out of 10 candidates own businesses.

Naam Tamilar Katchi, an unrecognised political party, has fielded candidates in all 39 constituencies in Tamil Nadu. Twelve of them are either doctors or dentists.

Most have been to college

In Tamil Nadu, almost half of the candidates hold a college degree. The educational landscape of the candidates is diverse, with 177 being graduate professionals, 97 are graduates, 164 postgraduates, and 19 doctorates. It is worth noting that only a small fraction, 23, are illiterate.

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